On the night of the 28/29 July 1999 a triangular formation appeared at Avebury at the junction leading to the Beckhampton roundabout in one direction, to Marlborough the other. It contained 33 circular standing tufts of corn, with lines running through each tuft linked to other tufts, thereby creating 6 sets of 3 dimensional `Escher` cubes.
On the morning of its appearance I was notified early but was not able to visit it until some time later. As often happens it was greeted with a mixed reception. Some visitors were enthralled by its beauty and construction whereas others said the lay was `messy` and it had no `energy`.
Whatever the answer, an article appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday 7 August, some 10 days after the event.
The article stated that it was a hoax, which had carefully planned taken place on the night of 28/29 July between the hours of 11pm and 4.30am.
We are told by accompanying journalist, Sam Taylor that the team of Rod Dickinson, John Lundberg and Will Russell accompanied by 5 helpers constructed the formation using wooden planks and surveyors tapes.
The field in question is on a step incline and clearly visible from the road. Avebury is a place that never sleeps. Visitors and locals mingle with the stones and walk through the lanes all night long. This particular night was the night of the full moon; it was a clear cloudless night.
Canadian researcher Gwen Chad was seated leaning against one of the stones facing and overlooking the field until 1am when she and her husband Chad who had been wandering round the village, left to return to Alton Barnes where they were staying. Gwen had seen and heard nothing despite the alleged starting time of 11.30pm. She was in a direct line to the subsequent formation and as such could not have possibly missed seeing or hearing any activity in the field.
Another woman could not sleep that night and walked past that field at 3am. There was nothing in it.
David Wyer, the then manager of The Henge shop had had a very bad night; he had been in and out of bed constantly. His bedroom window overlooks the field in question. He went to the window several times. He does not draw his curtains. He also heard and saw nothing.
Another report comes from Clive Gale who was passing through Avebury in the early hours that night on his way down to the tin mines in Cornwall on a research programme investigating Radon 22. ”I was actually at Avebury when the allegedly man made impossible triangle was being constructed; let me say that I never saw any evidence of people upon that hill side at all, and from where I was positioned I could not have possibly missed any human activity. I am convinced that that particular circle was an attempt to further debunk the existence of crop circles.
Treading on crop and applying weight to flatten it would undoubtedly make a noise.
In the article it states many people were interviewed by Sam Taylor the morning the formation appeared, the 29 July. Several friends of mine on a coach trip from the Glastonbury Symposium, were there when the interviews were taking place and were they themselves interviewed, but...the coach trip from Glastonbury was on Friday 30 July, the day after it was found, not the Thursday 29 July.
Why all these anomalies?
Could the true picture be portrayed in a slightly different manner? Maybe Sam Taylor, Rod Dickenson, John Lundberg et al did visit Avebury and go into the same field, but..maybe it was the following night when the formation was already there, and whilst they were in the field, maybe they did a few titivations to the existing formation? Their presence the following morning (Friday 30th July) would then tie in with the visit of the Glastonbury coach interviewees.
Could anyone be trying to debunk the phenomenon? Surely not!
It was revealed some days later after the circle appeared that the field is part of land owned by the National Trust, and the farmer who rents it gave his permission for the Daily Mail to use the field. Whether the National Trust were aware of this we do not know. The farmer subsequently charged people an entrance fee when visiting the formation.
Over the period of the next few weeks, several of us telephoned the Daily Mail asking to speak to the author of the article, Sam Taylor. On each occasion we were told that her number could not be released but we could leave our telephone numbers and a message and she would get back to us if she felt like it! She never did feel like it!
Eventually a friend of my mine said she knew someone at the Daily Mail and would try and find out the true situation. The message came back, ring Graham Brough at the Daily Mirror. Graham Brough at the Mirror, why, I asked myself? The name rang a vague bell, but no more than that.
I reached Graham without any difficulty and told him I had been referred to him regarding the Daily Mail article about the Avebury crop circle. Surprisingly he had the article to hand. What did I want to know? Why was I interested.
He was very brusque and told me to read the article and then I would have al the answers. It was all there word for word. The formation had been made by the people mentioned in the article and that was all there was to it.
I then questioned the reason for my referral and he said it might have been because he was responsible for writing the article Men who conned the World in 1991 about the two antiquarians Doug and Dave for Today newspaper who professed to have made all the circles since circledom began. The article which had had front-page coverage on newspapers worldwide and which had indeed rocked the world and divided the crop circle community.
"And I have as much interest in crop circles as I have in a used train ticket." End of conversation.
Of course, Graham Brough, the bells starting clanging in my head. That was why the name was so familiar.
Could Graham have been the real author of the article, not the invisible Sam Taylor? Does Sam Taylor even exist? We will never know for sure.
Whatever the answer, the whole exercise was a flop and whereas many read the article, only a few people were shaken by it.